Elizabeth Maconchy

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Dame Elizabeth Violet Maconchy Le Fanu DBE (19 March 1907 – 11 November 1994) was an English composer of Irish heritage.[1][2][3]

Early life[edit]

Maconchy was born in Broxbourne, Hertfordshire, and grew up in the English and Irish countryside.[4] She enrolled at the Royal College of Music in London at the age of sixteen studying under Charles Wood and Ralph Vaughan Williams.[4][5]

In 1932, Maconchy developed tuberculosis and moved from London to Kent.[1][4]

In 1930, Maconchy married William LeFanu with whom she later had two daughters.[3][5] Her first daughter, Elizabeth Anna LeFanu, was born in 1939, and her second daughter, Nicola LeFanu, was born in 1947.[1]


In 1933, Maconchy's quintet for oboe and strings won a prize in the London Daily Telegraph Chamber Music Competition, and was recorded by Helen Gaskel with the Griller Quartet soon afterwards on HMV Records.[6]


In 1959, Maconchy chaired the Composers' Guild of Great Britain, the first woman to do so.[5] In 1960, she was awarded the Cobbett Medal for chamber music.[5] She was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 1977, and made Dame Commander (DBE) in 1987.[3][7][8]


  1. ^ a b c Doctor, Jennifer (2004). "Maconchy, Dame Elizabeth Violet (1907–1994)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online (Jan 2008) ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/55123. 
  2. ^ Greene, David Mason (1985). Petrak, Albert M., ed. Green's Biographical Encyclopedia of Composers 1. p. 1366. ISBN 9780385142786. Retrieved 2012-12-17. 
  3. ^ a b c "Maconchy, Dame Elizabeth (Dame Elizabeth LeFanu)". Who Was Who (online (December 2012), Oxford University Press ed.). A & C Black. November 2012. Retrieved 2012-12-27. 
  4. ^ a b c Staines, Joe (2010). "Elizabeth Maconchy". The Rough Guide to Classical Music. Penguin. pp. 320–321. ISBN 9781405383219. Retrieved 2012-12-17. 
  5. ^ a b c d Uglow, Jennifer S. & Maggy Hendry (1999). "Maconchy, Elizabeth". The Northeastern Dictionary of Women's Biography (3rd ed.). UPNE. pp. 347–348. ISBN 9781555534219. Retrieved 2012-12-17. 
  6. ^ Darrell, R.D., ed. (1936). The Gramophone Shop Encyclopedia of Recorded Music. New York. p. 278. OCLC 598224. 
  7. ^ "Announcement of the Order of the British Empire (Civil Division): DBE". Supplement to the London Gazette (50848). 13 June 1987. p. 6. Retrieved 2012-12-27. 
  8. ^ "Announcement of the Order of the British Empire (Civil Division): CBE". Supplement to the London Gazette (47102). 31 December 1976. p. 9. Retrieved 2012-12-27.